April 23, 2024

Kings of Mulberry Street: Let Love Reign 2023 Movie Review

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Kings of Mulberry Street: Let Love Reign 2023 Movie Review

Judy Naidoo’s follow-up to the 2019 original has the endearing duo of Ticky and Baboo back in action. The last time around the children were out to take down a local mafia boss. This time they are tasked with saving Ticky’s feisty granny. Liam Dunpath replaces Aaqil Hoosen from Part one to fit into Ticky’s lead role while the rest of the cast remains more or less unchanged. The children play the perfect foil to each other, with the sharp, cocksure and motor mouthed Ticky being the yin to Baboo’s yang.

What made the first film work was its laundry list of humorous, relatable caricatures. Part two offers a bit of the same, but endearing characterisation alone doesn’t result in a good film. The premise is cute, no doubt, but the story isn’t strong enough to sustain. With Bollywood capturing most of the imagination (as in the first film), the writers cram one plotline after another into this heist adventure that loses the audience halfway through. Eccentric and quirky as it is, the sheen wears off eventually. Granny Chetty – Ma and retired police chief Veerasamy provide comic reliefs before things start going downhill.

Best friends and polar opposites Ticky (Liam Dunpath) and Baboo (Shaan Nathoo) are it again. The latter is so besotted by Leila that he wishes to crash her birthday party and perform a grand romantic number for her. Ticky doesn’t believe it’s the best idea but goes along all the same for his friend’s sake. The boys embarrass themselves with song-and-dance sequences at the hotel and casino in which the party is being held. Ticky’s chaperoning grandmother, Ma (Kogie Naidoo), enjoys herself at the slot machines while the kids are away. Meanwhile, former police chief Veerasamy (Hamish Kyd), working as a security guard at the premises, attempts to have a chat with the owner of the casino. He used to know the man before he was ousted from the force. The latter fails to acknowledge his presence now. Veerasamy happens to see the boys and Granny Chetty at the hotel. Ticky and Baboo were responsible for his dishonourable discharge from the police some time ago. The disgruntled cop hatches a plan to kidnap the granny and get the boys to do his bidding. A necklace worth millions belongs to the casino’s owner, and Veerasamy intends to get his revenge by stealing it.

Despite its endearing hodgepodge of mostly immigrant Indian characters and their many quirks in a changing South Africa, Kings of Mulberry Street: Let Love Reign fails to add to its initial pull. The unshakeable friendship and humorous banter between the leads is fun to watch. Ticky’s quick-witted repartees, generally stylised manner and obsession with all things Bollywood are uproarious in their own way. Each relationship – be it Ticky and Baboo’s love for the former’s spirited granny, Baboo’s dad wanting the best for his son or Veerasamy’s strange bond with his not-so-bright lad (who’s also his accomplice) – engages you in a sweet sort of way. What the film fails to do, especially over the course of its run, is sustain. This is no more apparent than in its writing. All that early interest is put to bed when the story gets monotonous with the predictable heist sequences set against the backdrop of a make-believe Bollywood show. Funny caricatures aren’t enough to keep it all going. The pretend song-and-dance show as a cover for a heist is too cliché to be taken at face value. The novelty of the film’s humour recedes rapidly once it goes past the halfway point. It goes from quirky to boring and cliché rather quickly.

Kings of Mulberry Street: Let Love Reign 2023 Movie Review